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Erin Burnett Outfront

NYT: Trump Reportedly Told Aide Not To Acknowledge Boxes Of Docs; Hunter Biden Plans To Plead Not Guilty To Federal Gun Charges; UAW Chief: Union Is "Fighting The Billionaire Class And An Economy That Enriches People Like Donald Trump"; CNN Obtains Evidence Ukraine "Likely Responsible" For High Precision Daytime Strikes On Wagner Targets In Sudan; CNN At Southern Border As Officials Warn Of New Migrant Wave. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired September 19, 2023 - 19:00   ET



ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, breaking news. A former Trump aide says Trump told her to play dumb about boxes of classified documents that he stashed at Mar-a-Lago. This is according to "The New York Times".

Plus, a crucial test for Trump. Our John King on the road doing what he does best. The heart of the race and what matters most to voters with the magic wall with new reporting tonight.

And a CNN exclusive. CNN obtaining new evidence that suggests Ukraine may be taking the war with Russia far outside its borders.

We'll tell you what the target is. Let's go OUTFRONT.


BURNETT: And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT tonight, the breaking news. A major development in the Justice Department's investigation into Trump's handling of classified documents. According to "The New York Times," Trump specifically told Molly Michael, his former assistant, to play dumb if she was questioned by federal officials about the boxes of sensitive documents stashed at Mar-a-Lago.

And we understand the words, according to a person briefed in her comments, "The New York Times" says the specific words he used were, you don't know anything about the boxes. That's what he told his assistant. You don't know anything about him. Well, of course, these are those same boxes that you've seen pictures of so many times, right, that were openly stored in a ballroom, and of course in, a bathroom.

Now, Molly Michael worked for Trump in the White House and in his post-presidential office. She also reportedly is telling investigators that Trump would give her to-do lists, sometimes just written on documents that when she looked at them, she realized were marked "classified." This is also according to "The New York Times" report here that I've got in my hand.

Now, it's unclear what those classified documents were about. We don't know that at this point. We do, of course, know, that Trump's kept documents about the U.S. nuclear program, plans for attacks, and more, in those boxes.

I want to go OUTFRONT now straight to Trump White House attorney Ty Cobb. And, Ty, appreciate your taking the time to be with me.

So, again, the quote here Molly Michael, former assistant to Donald Trump tells investigators, quote, you don't know anything about the boxes. What do you hear when you hear those words?

TY COBB, FORMER TRUMP ATTORNEY: I hear Trump, you know, really for the first time in terms of the way this evidence has rolled out, speaking in the terms of a mob boss, you know, giving a direct order to somebody that he probably should have no reason to believe, you know, would lie for him, but expecting her to do so.

It's not like Nauta who would do anything for him and other people whose loyalty he had procured or never doubted. Molly very highly regarded person, very loyal to the president, but there's a difference between loyalty and breaking the law. And that's not a line she was going to cross.

So, it really is Trump directly ordering obstruction. That will certainly be helpful to enhance the credibility of others who will testify about the instruction like Mr. Tavares with regard to the destruction of the --

BURNETT: Tavares, and let me ask you about that. I want to ask you another question about Molly Michael. But let me ask you about that, too, because Mr. Tavares is the IT manager who ostensibly, who had originally stood by the former president, and then when he switched legal representation, said that his story had changed and he said that the property manager at Mar-a-Lago asked him at Trump's request to delete the security footage, requested by the Department Justice, without moving those boxes.

So, let me just ask you, Ty, that was obviously -- he switched attorneys and switched his story. But he also said the property manager asked him at Trump's request.

This reporting from Molly Michael doesn't have somebody told me at Trump's request.

COBB: There's no buffer.

BURNETT: Right. Trump says you don't know anything about the boxes directly to her. So does this move the needle from the reporting that is already -- the facts already out there for Mr. Tavares?

COBB: Yes. I think this underscores, though, what we've talked about, which is what Jack Smith says in the indictment is not the only evidence that he has.


He's got layers and layers of credible support for each of the allegations in the indictment. And this certainly enhances the obstruction counts, but it also enhances the -- because of her reference to the classified note cards on which he would doodle instructions to her, enhances the recklessness and total disregard he had for the confidentiality of classified documents.

BURNETT: Can I ask you about that? Because I know you think that's significant in the reporting it talks about it that he would write notes to himself on documents that he gave her listing tasks he wanted done. I'm quoting from Maggie Haberman in "The New York Times." She later realized that the documents sometimes had classified markings. You do think this is significant?

COBB: I think that's -- yeah, I do. And I think it's -- I think you're going to see -- there will be other leaks like this. I don't know who leaked this to whom. But the reality is, you know, as the evidence comes out, and more and more will come out as motions are filed, et cetera, et cetera.

I think you will see that the indictment detailed as it is, is far from a complete accounting of the evidence that they have to pursue the former president.

BURNETT: Does this change anything in the former president's legal team's eyes or in his eyes about -- and I know those two things are different about where they stand?

COBB: Yeah, I think it should. Now, they were aware of it probably because they already received discovery probably to this effect. But, you know, for example, there's a pending motion to partially gag Trump in the D.C. case by Jack Smith. This is the kind of evidence that buttresses the necessity for partially gag him because it is -- it's a direct instance of in intimidation and instructions to violate the law.

And that's part of what they're concerned about is the intimidation of witnesses as well as the poisoning of the jury pool. So I think this enhances that motion. I think there will be other evidence that will be used in the hearing on that issue that will -- that will come out, and also reinforce the necessity of imposing a partial gag order.

BURNETT: All right. Ty Cobb, thank you very much. I really appreciate your time.

COBB: Nice to be with you, Erin. Thank you, Erin.

BURNETT: You, too, Ty.

And when -- when it comes to the impact of this on other cases, Ty is talking, of course, about also what it might mean for the DOJ case right now in Washington.

I want to bring in Chris Timmons now, former prosecutor in Georgia. Chris, obviously, you've talked a lot about the Fulton County probe. Could this new reporting from "The New York Times," obviously specifically his -- Trump's former assistant, he said you don't know anything about the boxes. Could that have impact on the case in Fulton County?

CHRIS TIMMONS, TRIAL ATTORNEY & FORMER GEORGIA PROSECUTOR: Absolutely, Erin. I think it's got three possibilities of coming in. One, the least likely is a re-indictment including these additional predicate acts and further into the conspiracy. I don't think it fits quite that neatly.

Second, it could be brought in and there'd have to be a motion filed under what's referred to as similar acts, that it's -- that it's close to or even brought in as maybe kind of a distant part of the RICO scheme but under a motion what we refer to as evidence Rule 404B.

And then the third one, I think the -- I think the former president is going to take the opportunity to testify in the Georgia case. I really do. A number of people think that he's not going to. I think he's not going to miss that opportunity to be on every television in the entire world. And if he does testify, Erin, then at that point it comes as impeachment evidence and it shows that he lacks credibility and is dishonest.

So, I think it's coming in under one of those two ways. I think most likely the second or third. But, again, I think he's going to testify. If he does, he's going to hear about that on his cross-examination.

BURNETT: Right. And, of course, we should remind everyone, right to testify, when you say here in front of the world, literally so, because the hearings in the case in Georgia would be televised. When it comes to the case here and the specific report from "The New York Times" that Molly Michael, the former assistant to then President Trump reportedly says Trump told her to play dumb and said, quote, you don't know anything about the boxes. And that was after he was president when he was in Mar-a-Lago. She still was working for him.

Also those notes that he would write on documents that he gave her, and she then noticed that some of those were marked classified. As a former prosecutor when you look at this, and this latest reporting, how significant is it?

TIMMONS: So, Erin, in every case there's going to be a point during trial where a trial is won and lost. I don't know if the former president will testify in Florida. If he does, probably with the point where the trial is won and lost. But if it isn't, it's this witness.

She's the key witness.


She had -- she doesn't have a prior inconsistent statement where she said something happened that didn't. So she makes a much stronger witness. And, on top of that, you know, she's got just damning information. I mean, this is a smoking gun.

So I think what we're going to see here is when this case goes to trial, if it goes to trial, her testimony, particularly her, and more importantly her cross-examination, is going to be the key to whether the former president is convicted.

BURNETT: All right, thank you very much, Chris. I appreciate your time tonight.

TIMMONS: Thank you.

BURNETT: And, next, the breaking news on Hunter Biden pleading not guilty to federal gun charges as there are now major doubts about the testimony of the self-described IRS whistle-blower who testified about the president's son.

Plus, a key to Trump's campaign in New Hampshire. So what do Republican voter there's think? Our John King went there, spent a lot of time there, and you will see what he found out coming up at the magic wall.

And the CNN exclusive this hour. We have obtained video of strikes on a Wagner-backed group. Sources telling CNN that it is Ukraine who is behind this attack far outside its borders.


BURNETT: Breaking news. President Biden's son Hunter planning to plead not guilty to three federal gun charges, according to a new court filing. Biden also asking for his initial court appearance to be held remotely.

Now, these charges were announced after a plea deal that was in the works with the Justice Department, of course, fell apart in spectacular fashion. Now, if Hunter Biden is convicted on all counts, he could face as many as 25 years in prison and fines up to three- quarters of a million dollars. So, as we've emphasized, these are extremely serious if he is convicted.


The news comes at the same day that CNN is learning about new testimony that does directly contradict a key allegation from a self- proclaimed IRS whistleblower. Now, this whistleblower had testified about Hunter Biden and specifically had said that IRS agent Gary Shapley testified to Congress that there was political interference in the federal criminal investigation of Biden's taxes, and more specifically, he had this to say about an October 2022 meeting that the U.S. attorney David Weiss who is the U.S. attorney overseeing the Hunter Biden investigation.

He said, quote, he surprised us by telling us on the charges, quote, I'm not the deciding official on whether charges are filed. CNN has learned the number of FBI and IRS officials are disputing this claim, according to testimony three top law enforcement officials say they have no recollection of Weiss saying he lacked the authority to bring charges against the president's son.

The special agent in charge of the FBI Baltimore field office telling the committee, I do not remember. I don't. He didn't say that. And my recollection if he would have said that, I would have remembered it. Shapley's former boss says, quote, I do not recall that ever being said.

And an assistant special agent in charge of the FBI there said, I don't remember him saying that. Now, none of this has stopped the Republicans from touting the whistleblower's testimony and claiming that the entire Hunter Biden investigation is politically influenced.

Here is just a small example of what they've said.


SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): The House Ways and Means Committee released transcripts of interviews with two IRS whistle-blowers who came forward and said that the Biden Justice Department actively, aggressively interfered in the investigation of Hunter Biden.

REP. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE (R-GA): These IRS whistle-blowers are so brave and courageous. They're trying to bring forward the truth for the American people.

REP. JAMES COMER (R-KY): Senator Grassley and I have both reviewed that disclosure. We find it very credible.


BURNETT: As we know, McCarthy, of course, has started an impeachment inquiry into President Biden.

And tonight, we have learned that House Republicans are moving full steam ahead on that inquiry. They have set a date for the first hearing nine days from now and they've drafted a plan for how the inquiry could proceed.

Evan Perez begins our coverage here OUTFRONT live in Washington.

So, Evan, I want to get to your reporting on the whistle-blower in just a moment because obviously, it's very significant. There is also, though, this breaking news on Hunter Biden planning to plead not guilty to the gun charges he's facing. So, what does that mean as to whether this case is going to trial?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is part of the process before you can get to trial, and what Hunter Biden's lawyers are saying in a new filing tonight is that he plans to plead not guilty to all of the charges. Obviously, these are some of the charges that were part of that plea agreement. It was supposed to be a diversion program under which it would go away if Hunter Biden abided by certain conditions, including staying away from drugs and not owning any guns.

What the lawyers are saying, however, is that he shouldn't have to fly across the country to appear for like a five or ten-minute hearing just to -- just as part of this arraignment because he already flew across the country one time and was processed as part of -- when that plea deal fell apart, Erin. So, what they're arguing is that he shouldn't have to come in. He should be able to do this via video conference.

Prosecutors are objecting to that. They want him to fly across the country and come into court and make his plea known in front of the judge.

BURNETT: All right. So, there's the developments there. And then there is also your reporting about this IRS employee, right, the self- described whistle-blower who had alleged a politically influenced DOJ investigation into Hunter Biden, right? That was the core of this. And it appears to be, from your reporting coming into question.

PEREZ: Right. Now there is a number of FBI and former IRS colleagues of Gary Shapley who are disputing at least his recollection of that very key meeting back in October where a lot of this came to a head, Erin. What Shapley says is that David Weiss, the now special counsel who's overseeing this, that he admitted or said that he was not the final decider in this case, and that also that he had been blocked from bringing some of these charges.

What these colleagues are saying is that they don't remember that exact interaction or certainly that's not the words they remember David Weiss saying. They also came away from that meeting not believing that the investigation was being blocked. They seem to also be disputing that there is politicization involved in this investigation.

Now, what Shapley's attorneys are saying is that he took contemporaneous notes during that meeting as opposed to some of his colleagues. So therefore his memory of it is more vivid, or certainly more accurate, at least according to their telling.


But what is -- what's important here, Erin, is that this is forming a lot of the evidence, or a lot of what Republicans are using to say that they believe there should be an impeachment of the former pre -- of the current president because they say this entire investigation into his family has been -- has been politicized.

BURNETT: All right. Evan, thank you very much.

And OUTFRONT now, former Republican Congressman Joe Walsh, now the director of Mission Democracy. And Van Jones, former special adviser to then-President Obama.

So, Congressman, let me start with you. Look, these whistle-blower allegations were crucial for many Republicans, right? They ran with this.

So, now, you've got reporting with the special agent in charge of the FBI office in Baltimore. I don't remember that and I would have if he said it. Shapley's former boss himself, I don't recall that being said. Assistant special agent in charge of the FBI, I don't remember him saying that. Does any of this mean anybody says, okay, wait, now I've got all this

evidence, I'm going to --

JOE WALSH (R), FORMER U.S. REP. FROM ILLINOIS: No, no. Not -- Erin, not to these Republicans.

BURNETT: Right, right.

WALSH: Because, again, the whole point is just put Hunter Biden out there, the boogeyman out there to go after Joe Biden and throw as much crap as you can out there without any evidence, and then when the evidence begins to come in, it doesn't matter.

They learned this from Trump. Just put it out there and never apologize or backtrack. So they won't.

BURNETT: Right. I mean, it's -- they've already thrown the seeds out there. I mean, you hear -- you're going to hear Ted Cruz go out and say actually maybe one person's recollection isn't enough to base an entire impeachment inquiry on.

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Exactly. Look, I usually like whistle-blowers. I like it when people come forward. It does take some courage to come forward. It's conceivable that there were some people in there that were scared. I mean, you know, but that's not the point.

The point is was there some top-down conspiracy from the Oval Office or from the top of the Department of Justice to stop this thing? There is zero evidence of that. And even the people who were in the meeting can't agree on what was said. So that gives you a certain sense. So, in other words, you can -- you can appreciate somebody stepping forward, but, guess what, there were other people in that meeting.

And even though if you said -- well, this guy said he wasn't the decider. Well, who was? You still can't prove that it's anybody besides the mouse in your pocket to give any information about who is actually making this so-called conspiracy happen.

So what I'm saying is this is not -- even if there is a dispute here, the point is, where's Joe Biden in this? Where?

He's nowhere in here. Why are we having --


WALSH: But, Erin, none of this matters because Republicans are going to bull forward with this impeachment inquiry. Doesn't matter what evidence is there. They have to do this because they're all about protecting Donald Trump and everything he's got to deal with.

BURNETT: Well, okay. But here's the thing also. They're doing exactly what they said was unacceptable last time.

Now, I know, look, that's what politicians do and you can find these examples on the shutdown, God knows you can find guilt on all sides. But when it comes to the impeachment itself, Congressman, right, you had then Minority Leader McCarthy saying, Democrats, you can't go ahead with this, when it was Trump, because you got to have a budget, and you got to -- you got to -- you can't let the government shutdown. This is just so awful.

And I'll replay it because I want to give you a chance to just hear it in its glory. Here he is.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): First thing I think a majority should do is pass a budget which the Democrats have not done. They should actually make sure that they fund the government which we have not done.

This is the day the nation is weaker because they surely cannot put their animosity or their fear of losing an election in the future in front of them, all the other things that the American people want. They don't even have a budget.



BURNETT: Okay. It's funny, except for -- but he just doesn't care. There's no ramifications.

WALSH: No. That was before. And I served McCarthy -- that was before four indictments. Now four indictments later, Kevin McCarthy has to do what Donald Trump and Marjorie Taylor Greene and the rest of them tell him to do.

Erin, Kevin McCarthy doesn't want an impeachment inquiry. Kevin McCarthy wants the government -- he doesn't want the government to shut down. He has no choice. Well, he does, but he doesn't.

BURNETT: Do you agree, van, that he doesn't want it? But personal ambition and remaining speaker at all costs?

JONES: He's just tap-dancing and juggling chickens and chainsaws and trying to go home with no blood and feathers. This guy is just trying to survive. I don't know if he knows what he wants. He just doesn't want to get walked out of there by the right-wing caucus. That's his main fear.

But what he needs to think about is something this, what are they going to do if they vote him out? He should just say go ahead and vote me out and then we'll sit here for 900 more votes because you don't have the votes to replace me and I'll be speaker again.

BURNETT: By the way, you somehow think you're probably being hyperbolic with 900.


I don't know that you are.


BURNETT: So, Congressman, you admit, you said you serve with McCarthy and I think it's important, you know, that many people watching you, you -- others who may not, you identified yourself as a former MAGA Republican.


BURNETT: You were there --


BURNETT: And now you're not --


BURNETT: -- which is a pretty incredible thing because it doesn't usually happen.

And you have just put out a new ad called "Kick the can". And you were warning the country about the direction the Republican Party was going in right now.


AD ANNOUNCER: Politicians who lie are manipulating you so they can gain or maintain power, turning families and friends against each other and often leading to violence. Surely you have to do something about that, don't you?

Because if you keep kicking the can down the road, eventually, you run out of road.


CROWD: Jews will not replace us! One people, one nation, end immigration --

AD ANNOUNCER: Help stop MAGA Republican fascism before it's too late, because the MAGA Republican vision of America is anti-American.


BURNETT: Have you met others who also have heard that who feel that who were once mega, who are now not?

WALSH: Very few, but they're afraid to.

Erin, that's a tough ad. But this is a tough truth. I helped to give birth to MAGA. Maga has overtaken my former political party. And I think the country needs to wake up to that. This is scary. It's an anti-democracy movement.

JONES: Listen, this is courage.

BURNETT: Yeah. JONES: This is what we want. I used to be on the left side of Pluto when I was in my 20s. I was a Berkeley activist, you know? I've grown.

Let's all be honest here.


JONES: You know, I've grown, I've changed people. But when people look at the facts and they look at movements and they reconsider and they step up, they should be given more credibility, and they should also give people room to come forward.

I know a lot of people who are, quote/unquote, MAGA who don't like what's going on, but they don't know what to do. They need to be able to come back home.

BURNETT: Right, right. I guess it is, redemption, forgiveness.

JONES: Yeah.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you both very much.

And, next, the head of the autoworkers union slamming Donald Trump as the former president is trying to cozy up to the union. We'll tell you exactly why. We'll have that.

Plus, John King at the magic wall with some new reporting from the road.

And also this hour, a CNN exclusive. CNN has obtained new evidence that Ukraine may be striking Wagner targets that are thousands of miles from the front lines. And wait till you hear where and what.



BURNETT: Tonight, the United Auto Workers president slamming Donald Trump as the former president tries to cozy up to the union, saying today, in part: Every fiber of our union is being poured into fighting the billionaire class, and an economy that enriches people like Donald Trump at the expense of workers.

Well, this came after Trump announced that he is going to go to Detroit next week. He says he's going to do it to show support for the striking union workers. And, of course, he's doing it on the same day as the next GOP debate which he's skipping. So, you know, upstaging obviously is the point.

This is a debate, though, that Republican voters will be watching closely across the country and in the state of New Hampshire, that crucial early voting state. It's been make or break in history.

And John King has just returned from a lot of reporting there, doing what he does best, getting at the heart of the issues with the people who will decide the winner, the voters. And John King is OUTFRONT at the magic wall.

So, you know, John, I know you've spent so much time just talking to people, going and spending the time. So, how much momentum does Trump have in New Hampshire? Obviously, the context is nationally he's, you know, it's not even a contest in the polls. What about New Hampshire?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So, momentum's an excellent question, Erin. There's no doubt from our conversations with voters from talking to politicos in the know, other political strategist across the campaigns, that Trump has a lead. This is 2016.

Remember, New Hampshire was his first win. There's no question he's at least this good for Donald Trump. Some people think he's even stronger. He got 35 percent and he won.

Remember, like, then there is a crowded field of candidates now. And so, Donald Trump has all these other opponents. He has a lead.

The momentum question is interesting, though, because even some Trump supporters now, Erin, say, you know, he's run before he's not new, why isn't he tweeting more and being more combative. He has these legal issues that have turn some Republicans away.

So, a lead, yes. Momentum I think is an interesting question.

BURNETT: So, you know what is also interesting because you mentioned they know him. We have all heard the argument, John, that, okay, Trump is well ahead. But he should be looked at like an incumbent because he's already been president. And by those measures, he's not that far ahead. He should, you know, he have it all locked up.

I mean, so, in that context, Trump is not new to this -- to the voters obviously in New Hampshire. They know him well. How is that playing into their views?

KING: So here's how I go about this. I'm going to use a little let me bring something up to help us do a little math here. We bring up our voter primary choices.

You have Trump, you have other Republican candidates. In this campaign, you have Robert Kennedy Jr. running as a Democrat. I'll get to that in a minute.

Let's go back into 2016 timeline. This is Andrew Konchek. He's a commercial fisherman up there. He was drawn to Donald Trump in 2016, outsider, businessman, he wanted him.

Pete Burdett, 20-year-plus navy veteran, drawn to Donald Trump in 2016. Different, promised to help the veterans, a different voice.

This is Natalya Orlando. She was for Rand Paul back in 2016. So, we'll put her there in the other Republican candidates.

Lucas Raymond here, also a commercial fisherman. Again, saw Donald Trump as an outsider. He's registered as an independent but he voted in the Republican primary back then.

This Stanley Tremblay leans Republicans, sat it out. He's disgusted with politics. This is 2016, right? So, you see Donald Trump. Of these five voters, getting three of the votes.

Here is where we are now, though. Pete Burdett, he liked Trump then. You know what, Erin? He says watch a Trump rally now, it's all about an election he lost and about his legal cases. Pete Border is moving over. Listen.


PETE BURDETT, NEW HAMPSHIRE VOTER: He goes to an event, he talks about himself. He's talking about what's happened in the past and how it wronged him. And it may have, I don't know. But I don't want to focus on that. I want to focus on how we can continue to make America better.


KING: So that's minus one, right? Pete Burdett moving from Trump 2016.

Lucas Raymond also has moved. He says too much Trump chaos. Look where he's gone. He might vote Democrat for the first time. He says the new insurgent in the race in his view, like Trump 2016, is Robert F. Kennedy Jr. in 2024. So, that's minus two for Donald Trump in our five.

But Natalya Orlando, Rand Paul in 2016, voted for Donald Trump in 2020. She loves him now.

Her biggest complaint, Erin, why is he so quiet? Why is he not tweeting up a storm?



NATALYA ORLANDO, NEW HAMPSHIRE VOTER: I wish Donald Trump would go back to being Donald Trump. I mean, I don't know if this is like -- again, this is part of -- it's weird because he seems awfully quiet compared to how he was or we knew him to be. I don't know if, again, he's probably been told to keep his mouth shut. But, I'm curious, if he went back to how he was, that would definitely -- like I said, the excitement around him is just not there as much.


KING: So when I go out on the road, Erin, this is all about math in the end, right? Are people moving around, where are they going if they move, and to me the biggest question, why?

BURNETT: Right. And, I mean, this is -- this is the crucial question. It's interesting, you know, that she's for Trump, Natalya, you talked about her. But was -- is frustrated, right? She's there, but she's frustrated. She wants to be more -- more aggressive. But you did hear from a lot of disillusioned voters who -- who are

looking for something else. Like what?

KING: There was a Pew survey out today that said 4 percent of Americans thought the national government was doing really well. Trust me, we -- that's where we found --

BURNETT: Who are the 4 percent?

KING: Exactly. That's how disappointing it is. So, I just want to talk about our two commercial fisherman. Blue collar guys, right, who -- inflation is up, their boat fuel prices and bait prices are up. Then like everybody else they go to the grocery store and they fill up their trucks and getting hit by inflation on the back end.

So, listen to Lucas Raymond, Andrew Konchek. He is still with Trump right now, Andrew is. Lucas is going over to Robert Kennedy, Jr. They just think, look, we're working with our hands, and the scientists, the politicians -- they never listen to us, they won't take our advice.


LUCAS RAYMOND, NEW HAMPSHIRE VOTER: It's a very, very difficult business. I mean, it always has been in the sense of we rely on natural cycles, you know, fish populations, stocks, weather. There's a whole -- what we do is very complicated, and under current regulations, it has just squeezed the independent boat owner out of the equation.

KING: What should the government do about that? Or do you trust the government? You know, you acknowledged there's climate change --

ANDREW KONCHEK, NEW HAMPSHIRE VOTER: What is the government going to do about climate change, is that a real question?

KING: That's a real question.

KONCHEK: The government can't do anything about climate change. It is just something that is happening.


BURNETT: Now, again, Erin, they feel ignored, right? They do not deny climate change. None of these fishermen do. They see it in the water, it's warmer, the fish is different, they can't find lobsters in certain places they used to.

They just think the government regulators are doing things without talking to them and trying to protect their jobs. And so, they're just going -- thinking out of the box.

Again, that's what got Konchek to Trump. He's there now, but he says he's going to think about it. Lucas Raymond going to vote Democrat for the first time.

So, you have these shifting choices because they are so disenchanted and disillusioned, so they look for something different.

BURNETT: So, could New Hampshire be up for grabs in the general election?

KING: Yes. Let me take this off and just show you.

Remember, New Hampshire's one of these states that are -- education is the biggest dividing line in American politics now. Let me move these voters over a little bit, and move them out of the way so you can see the numbers.

So this is the 2016 primary. Let's look at the 2020 presidential election. Let me get this out of the way, we come through here, sorry. So, it's a little question. Move voters out of the way, no disrespect.

Joe Biden won by about 59,000 votes then. Hillary Clinton just barely won in 2017. But remember, Biden won here in the middle of the pandemic, right? New Hampshire, education level, that's the biggest dividing line in American politics. It's about the national average.

Biden's the incumbent now. So, yes, it could well be in play, only four electoral votes, but in a very close election, they all count which is why people like Lucas Raymond are so interesting. Does he vote third party? Or does he come in a very close election?

Staying with Stanley Tremblay, he gave up. His dad was a Vietnam veteran. He's -- in an old firehouse. There are badges, signs of service everywhere.

Will he come back in? Right now he says I just can't stomach it because national politics is broken.


STANLEY TREMBLAY, NEW HAMPSHIRE VOTER: His patches are up on the wall over there, first cavalry, did what had to be done to make sure that, you know, as many of his brothers and sisters came home safe. And, yeah, service is a big part of who I am and who the people who are put in positions of power and politics. That's -- that's what they need to be, servicemen and women. And that's just not the case.


KING: The just not the case part is what gets disappointing, even depressing, Erin. Here's somebody you see him tearing up, he's talking about his dad. He's got a 15-year-old son who he says focus on local issues because our national government is broken.

But if New Hampshire is a battleground come November, he'll have a choice, does he want to jump in? The thing he looks at though, he says Biden/Trump again, probably won't vote. A lot of people feel that way.

BURNETT: All right, John, thank you very much. And I know you'll have more with Anderson in the next hour.

KING: That's right. BURNETT: And, next, a CNN exclusive. We've obtained new evidence tonight that Ukraine is now targeting new targets that are nowhere near the front lines. And this reporting shows a move that could change the course of the war.

Plus, new pictures tonight of migrants lined up at the U.S. southern border as immigration officials are now sounding the alarm that this could be the early stages of a new surge of illegal immigration.



BURNETT: Breaking news: President Zelenskyy of Ukraine just moments ago telling Wolf Blitzer that he can't say if Ukraine will have a military breakthrough this year, but that right now, Ukraine has the momentum.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT: I think nobody knows really. But I think that we will have more success, and really we see it now on this direction. On the south, really totaled (ph) in mine fields. But we go slowly, but we go forward, very important information that initiative in our arms in all the direction.


BURNETT: All right. Well, President Zelenskyy's comments come as CNN has obtained evidence suggesting that Ukraine may be taking the war far beyond the front lines -- in fact, to Sudan. And it matters big time.

Nima Elbagir is OUTFRONT in this exclusive report.


NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Nightfall in a war-torn neighborhood in the Sudanese city of Omdurman.

You are watching a thermal imaging video depicting military forces equipped in high-tech gear, far more sophisticated than the Sudanese have demonstrated to date. And here, a series of high-precision daytime strikes raining down from the sky in and around the same city hitting targets backed by Russia's Wagner mercenary group in Sudan.

A Ukrainian military source told CNN this is the work of a foreign military. Pressed on whether they would say unequivocally that Kyiv was behind the attacks, the source would only say that Ukrainian special services were likely responsible, which would constitute a dramatic expansion in Kyiv's theater of war against Moscow.

Previous CNN investigations exposed that the Sudanese paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, RSF, has been heavily backed by Wagner as they fight in a war for dominance. CNN obtained a series of videos of the operation showing 14 different

strikes on RSF weapons and equipment, believed to be provided by Wagner.

We pinpointed seven different locations of the drone strike in Omdurman, an RSF stronghold that has become a focal point of the conflict. And we geolocated the night radi to the same city by identifying the buildings seen here.


The drone video obtained by CNN had already been edited, but clues remain as to the identity of those behind the attacks.

Text on the monitor of the drone control is seen here, is in Ukrainian.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Press to start recording.

ELBAGIR: These commercially available drones are widely used by Ukrainian forces. They have a maximum video transmission range of around nine miles. That means we can tell that the pilots of the drones were in Sudan close by.

It's a common tactic in Ukraine but not so much in Sudan. Drone experts consulted by CNN said this is the first time drones like this have been deployed in this fashion in Africa. CNN shared the videos with a high-level source in Sudan's army for comment who said they had no knowledge of the Ukrainian operation in Sudan and did not believe it was true.

Sudan became embroiled in Russia's war against Ukraine last year, despite being thousands of miles from the front line.

(translated): Is this the Russian company?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (translated): Yes.

ELBAGIR: When, as we reported, Wagner exploited Sudan's gold resources to help finance Moscow's Ukraine war effort, circumventing U.S. sanctions on Russia.

After a plane carrying Wagner leader Yevgeny Prigozhin plummeted to the ground late last month, many believed that Wagner's influence would recede. But just the opposite has happened.

Whistle-blowers in a number of African countries have told CNN that the Kremlin is consolidating its power over Wagner networks -- in the Central African Republic, in Sudan, in Libya and in Mali.

And now that network has expanded further, this time into Chad.

Chad has really been impacted by the fighting in neighboring Sudan. And, yet, it's emerging as a key transit point for supplies to the Rapid Support Forces in Sudan, part of an expansion of Russia's influence in Africa. Cross-referencing testimony from intelligence and military sources

active in the region with satellite imagery, CNN has uncovered evidence that Wagner arms crossed through Chad within the last two weeks to get to an RSF military base in Sudan.

If you look closely, you can see over a hundred vehicles including scores of trucks at the base, proof the supplies provided by Russia, Wagner continue. A strike on Wagner-backed forces in Sudan would constitute a blow to Moscow.

If it is Ukraine, they will have raised the stakes for those willing to accept Wagner's backing in the future. A lesson illustrating the price they could be forced to pay for cooperating with Russia.

Nima Elbagir, CNN, N'Djamena, Chad.


BURNETT: Obviously, huge significant reporting from Nima.

We should note that multiple U.S. officials appeared unaware of the alleged incident and expressed surprise at the suggestion that the strikes and ground operation may have been conducted by Ukrainian forces.

And OUTFRONT next, cities along the United States border warning that they are on the verge of drowning under a new surge of migrants. In fact, 8,000 were apprehended just yesterday on the border, next.

Plus, a special champions for change. I'm going to bring you the story of a karate master who was instrumental in helping my son get through the pandemic.



BURNETT: New tonight, 8,000 plus. That's the alarming number of migrants apprehended on the southern border just yesterday. That I should say is a level that has not been seen since before title 42 expired. This growing number of border crossings is now overwhelming already crowded facilities.

Ed Lavandera is there, OUTFRONT.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Growing lines of migrants crossed between official border check points waiting themselves into U.S. border authorities in El Paso.

It's hard, this mother says, carrying a toddler she struggles to feed.

This man holds a sign begging for work to buy a bus ticket. Please support me to complete my ticket. There's a growing number of migrants crossing into the United States,

raising concerns this could be the early stages of a renewed surge of illegal immigration. In recent days, a crush of people flooded into Mexico's southern border and continued north.

Large migrant groups have been spotted on trains heading to the U.S. southern border. In El Paso, city officials say they've helped more than 4,000 migrants in the last week.

JOHN MARTIN, DEPUTY DIRECTOR, OPPORTUNITY CENTER FOR THE HOMELESS: As they come in, they are processing at that table.

LAVANDERA: John Martin runs a network of local shelters and says they are already over capacity.

MARTIN: Just a few days, we were at 170 at this location, for a facility that comfortably should be no more than 120.

LAVANDERA: Daily encounters in El Paso are about 1,200 per day. Most migrant shelters are full. Some migrants are sleeping outside. But the city is using hotels like this one to handle the overflow.

It's where we met Dorkis Escobedo (ph) and Mary Dinio (ph). The couple left Guatemala a year ago.

They are telling me that they spent about a month in Juarez waiting to cross legally through the proper channels. But they started noticing many other people starting to cross illegally across the river and turning themselves in. So, they decided to do the same thing.

The crisis is not limited to El Paso.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We transported hundreds of people to the airport.

LAVANDERA: A surge in San Diego has volunteers dealing with thousands of migrants. Many, like this 24-year-old from Ecuador, are on their way to family already inside the country.

He says he wants what every person comes here to do, to work and live here, breathe new air.

A Homeland Security official tells CNN 8,000 migrants, including families, were apprehended Monday on the U.S. southern border. That number higher than the 3,500 per day average in May, right after Title 42 COVID restrictions ended.

But in El Paso, this migrant surge doesn't rival those during Title 42, at least not yet.

MARTIN: The only thing I can say we are starting to see larger number of people. It should be heeded as a warning.


LAVANDERA (on camera): And, Erin, the question now is, why is all of this happening all of a sudden? It's difficult to pinpoint. Through our reporting throughout the day speaking with about a dozen migrants here, there was a wide range of reasons they told us for why she decided to cross now.

Now, this is one of the gates in the border wall where people have been turning themselves in. Something we haven't seen since just before the end of Title 42 -- Erin.

BURNETT: Ed, thank you very much, in El Paso, along that border.

And next, champions for change. I'm going to introduce you to my son's karate teacher. And wait until you hear how many people he influenced and led through the pandemic.



BURNETT: This week, we are bringing you a series called "Champions for Change". And my story is a personal one. This is my son Nyle and his karate master, Mel Ramsey.


MEL RAMSEY, KARATE MASTER: Never forget the basics.

There's your block. Yes, good block.

BURNETT (voice-over): Shuseki Shihan Mel Ramsey is a seventh degree black belt that teaches karate in New York City.

RAMSEY: The one particular word I want you guys to truly, truly forget is the word can't.

BURNETT: It's a word he refused to let define the pandemic for his karate community. Instead, it was, yes, we can.

I mean, no one was prepared for it. We thought, maybe it will last a couple weeks, maybe a couple months. How we shut down and isolated ourselves and everything that we did on a regular basis, we didn't have access to anymore.

BURNETT: OUTFRONT next, breaking news: shutting down in a matter of hours. Disneyland shut down. March Madness canceled. Three states shutting down all schools.

I remember for us, at the beginning, trying to find what we could keep for our children. Nyle was a really good older one at the time had some activities, karate. You know, he cared a lot about it.

You moved very quickly to come up with an alternative solution. What were the moments like for you, though?

RAMSEY: Well, it was a little scary, just like everything. We started doing virtual classes, which wound up to be really good but sort of confining to do all the kicks and punches. BURNETT: I remember we literally pushing the dining room table aside.

You know, it's karate time. You're shutting the shades, move everything out of the room.

RAMSEY: The warm weather sets in. We started doing more outdoor training.

BURNETT: Did you realize you were sort of holding a community together?

RAMSEY: Well, I kind of felt just the opposite. I felt they were holding me together. So, we were here like, five, six days a week. We have to find a way to keep continue going this way. How can we do that? I felt like I had an obligation do this.

BURNETT: What makes you enjoy it so much?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I feel like it's not just what you are doing. It's the community is very welcoming and nice. They taught me and helped me the whole way.

STEVE BOGARDUS, 6TH DEGREE BLACK BELT: I've been working with Mel for 30 years.

BURNETT: Thirty years.

BOGARDUS: He is such an incredible role model for everybody. Mel teaches you that regardless where you are in your life, you keep moving forward. You keep picking yourself up. We have an expression, if you are knocked down seven times, you get up eight times.

RAMSEY: Not so much hip, okay?

BURNETT: Mel was tireless in stepping up and into his karate students' lives during the pandemic. His spirit, perseverance, helped the group not just survive but grow stronger.

And, Mel, you said if you are not learning and growing, something is wrong. You say this after doing this for 46 years. How do you inspire your karate students to take that on, just to learn and grow?

RAMSEY: Well, it's sort of like having a pilot light. If the pilot starts to dim, you need to find a way of motivating yourself. And sometimes it's hard. I'm not going to quit. I just don't believe in that. I believe in, let's just keep going and see if we can become better than we were today. Let's see what tomorrow has in store.

BURNETT: Mel has inspired so many. Don't miss the "Champions for Change" special. It is Saturday night at 8:00.

And right now, it's time for "AC360".